Gauteng MEC for Public Transport and Roads Infrastructure, Jacob Mamabolo, has strongly condemned the resurgence of taxi-related conflict between the Witwatersrand African Taxi Owners Association (WATA) and Nancefield Dube West Taxi Association (NANDUWE) associations in Soweto. This included the blockading of routes leaving commuters stranded and motorists unable to get to work, school and other places of interest.
The MEC has called on law enforcement agencies to protect commuters and motorists whilst ensuring those responsible for the inconvenience to commuters and motorists, instability, threatening safety of passengers and residents are brought to book.
“It has come to our attention that there have been incidents of taxi-related violence involving NANDUWE and WATA taxi associations in Soweto recently. Both associations are warned to refrain from causing instability in the area or face possible closure. As we work towards our commitment of creating a gun-free taxi industry, we will not allow a situation where few individuals threaten the lives of commuters and residents. We call on law-enforcement agencies to deal harshly with the perpetrators of this violence,” Mamabolo warned.
Last year, the MEC dissolved the executive committees of both associations following deadly clashes that resulted in the death of at least two people.
This after the North Gauteng High Court had ratified an agreement between Gauteng’s major taxi structures, the Gauteng National Taxi Alliance (GNTA) and the South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO-Gauteng), giving the MEC powers to dissolve taxi associations involved in acts of violence.
Through the agreement, the MEC is empowered by law to place associations involved in violence under administration or close them in terms of Section 91 of the National Land Transport Act. This ensures that no person shall be allowed to undertake passenger road transport services at affected ranks and/or on identified routes.
MEC Mamabolo stressed that the Provincial Government “will not be frustrated in our efforts to improve, modernise and integrate the taxi industry as part of a safe, accessible and efficient public transport system”.
Info supplied by the Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport.